Lagunitas Brewing 'Brown Shugga' Ale

Lagunitas Brown Shugga 1
Lagunitas Brewing 'Brown Shugga' Ale. 9.9% abv. 51.1 IBU. Deep ruby color. Thick 2+ fingers of foamy tan head off the pour. Excellent retention and superb lacing. Nose of bright herbal hops, malt, spice. Front taste of ample bitter hops, roasted malt, brown sugar, flowers, cloves. Aftertaste of balanced bitter hops, sweet malt, warm sugar. Full body. Mouthfeel is warm-hot, creamy, carby.

This is one of my seasonal and all-time favorites, a big bold beer with a unique, complex taste. Sweet, bitter, fresh. Strongly recommended.

I once met Tony Magill, Founder of Lagunitas, at Lucky Baldwin's Pub in Pasadena. He was playing blues guitar, on a pub tour to promote the then-new Brown Shugga'. He took a break and joined me and my friend. He asked us what beers we ordered. I told him that I came for the Brown Shugga', which fast became one of my favorites at the time. It was only then that he introduced himself. I was stunned. I was talking with one of my craft beer idols - a legend - and I didn't even realize!

Tony then told us in detail how Lagunitas started, and the legendary story of how Brown Shugga came to be, starting with the big mistake, followed by visiting every all-night supermarket in the area and leaving with shopping carts full of brown sugar at 3AM. He bought us a few rounds of beer, "Whatever you want, whether or not they're mine!"

Tony Magill was very cool that night, played great music, told wonderful stories, and offered great beer. I think of that unforgettable evening whenever I drink this wonderful beer.

From the brewery:

"We believe this special ale is something unique. Feeding brown cane sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is akin to feeding raw shark to your gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without human intervention. And it looks weird besides. But is has happened and now it’s too late. Originally a failed attempt at our 1997 batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale, resulting in an all-new beer style we like to call… irresponsible. Rich, roasty, and mysteriously drinkable. It leaves a lot of stories in its wake."

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Old pic of me enjoying a Brown Shugga